Google, Hitwise and an identity crisis
After seeing the Hitwise stats and in a moment of Trekkie madness back in May, I called Google's lack of traction with most of their non-search products Google's "Nimoy Syndrome".
Couple these lackluster Google stats with the increase in Yahoo!'s numbers (Fred Wilson is bullish) and the moderate success of the new Ask.com, and you might start wondering where all this is headed.
Peter Levitan notes the same trends in the August numbers and quickly asks, Is Google a Failure?
I think it is a bit soon to be calling Google a failure (as in, waaaay too soon), but the company doesn't look as invincible as it once did. YouTube is in hypergrowth, preventing Google Video from taking off. Skype is a massive success, and Google Talk has yet to really get going. And for all the buzz, GMail is a bit slow and doesn't allow POP and other services that would allow it to compete with Yahoo! Mail (whose beta is pretty slick). Google Maps (and Google Local) are awesome, but there is still very little revenue there. Google Finance is a bust, by most accounts. Google Answers pales in comparison to Yahoo. And then there's Froogle, Scolar, Labs and so on. The list goes on, and it will get longer.
The one thing they certainly have is a ton of cash, and that will allow them to keep experimenting, tweaking and working on new products, bisiness models and aquisitions. They are their own incubator, and to paraphrase John Doerr, "The next Google will be Google."
Peter is right, though ... I do think they need some better marketing talent. As I wrote in my original post: Google never wanted to be a portal, and their traffic shows that despite the launch of many new products and services they are succeeding in not becoming one.
The best engineers in the world will not solve Google's identity crisis. That bug can only be fixed by better marketing.
Technorati Tags: google, research, yahoo, portal
Thursday, August 24, 2006